Eat Out to Help Out sees 10.5 million discounted meals purchased in its opening week
The first week of the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme saw 10.5 million discounted meals claimed, according to the Treasury.
The scheme offers consumers a 50 per cent discount on meals eaten at participating cafes, restaurants and pubs from Monday to Wednesday, with the government paying the remaining half of the price to help revitalise the hospitality sector which has been stricken by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Discounts are capped at £10 per person, but the Treasury has estimated that the average discount claim equates to around £5, making the cost of the policy so far around £50 million. The government has set a fund of £500 million aside to finance the policy.
The Treasury has said that 83,068 restaurants signed up for the new scheme, and HMRC said that 10,540,394 discount claims had been made as of August 9.
Chancellor Rishu Sunak hailed the “amazing” figures and the support consumers were providing for the hospitality industry, amid news that the policy has led to increased numbers of people venturing out onto the High Street according to figures from Springboard.
The figures measuring footfall indicated that the number of people in retail venues after 18:00 BST on August 3 was 19 per cent higher than the same time the previous week. The number of visitors during lunchtime hours was up by ten per cent.
Sunak said: "Britons are eating out to help out in big numbers.
"And they aren't just getting a great deal - they're supporting the almost two million people employed in this sector.”
Official figures indicate that 1.4 million hospitality workers were furloughed when 80 per cent of the industry’s businesses stopped trading in April, constituting the highest number of furloughed employees in any one sector.